Fear the Walking Dead on Sunday concluded its Season 5 finale, "End of the Line," by delivering on the "big change" showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg said would reinvent the spinoff in Season 6.
"Without giving something away, the world is going to expand in a big way and by the time we get to the end of the season, it's really going to shake the entire group to the very core and really change the show in a way that will launch us into Season 6, in a really big way," Chambliss said at San Diego Comic-Con in July. "We're constantly striving to change what Fear is and reinvent it. So just as soon as everyone thinks they've figured out what we're doing, we change things up, and that's gonna continue through Season 5. There'll be a big change at the end of Season 5."
Added Goldberg, that "epic" build up "very much sets up what the design of Season 6 is going to be and we've been planning it for a while." Chambliss later said this big development would "change the narrative approach of how we tell stories in Season 6."
In "End of the Line," Morgan (Lennie James) and his band of survivors attempt to corral a horde of walkers away from Humbug's Gulch, the ghost town they intend to make their new home, and redirect the dead towards Virginia (Colby Minifie) and her Pioneers.
This plan is abandoned when Strand (Colman Domingo) and Daniel (Rubén Blades) realize they're traveling with Luciana (Danay García) — who earlier elected to stay behind and make fuel for the Pioneers as part of a pact that spared her friends from execution — forcing the survivors to flush the walkers down a nearby river.
Now vastly outnumbered and outgunned, Morgan realizes accepting Virginia's offer to assimilate into her many settlements is the only way to ensure the survival of the 41-person convoy.
"She can take us wherever she wants. She can separate us, but she can't make us forget what we did or who we are," Morgan tells his group. "She can't."
Before surrendering themselves, the survivors gather for John (Garret Dillahunt) and June's (Jenna Elfman) humble wedding ceremony. The honeymoon is short-lived as Virginia and the Pioneers, part of a heavily armed convoy, roll into the now cleared ghost town.
"We asked for your help, and we're gonna take it," Morgan tells Virginia, laying down one condition: everyone goes, including their elders, their sick, and their injured. "It's all of us or none of us." Virginia tells Morgan he's in no position to be making demands.
"You won, you did. You should let us win, too. You're all about value. Well, all of us alive, I would argue we're priceless to you like that. And anything else, it's gonna be a problem," he tells her. "Because the only way this is gonna work is if we get a guarantee that we will not lose a single one of us. Not one. Otherwise... well, then we'll both lose."
Virginia begrudgingly accepts his terms. "Adios yesterday," she says, "hello tomorrow."
The survivors are then forcibly separated and taken away to parts unknown.
Siblings (Bailey Gavulic), Max (Ethan Suess) and Dylan (Cooper Dodson) are split from the pack while Wendell (Daryl Mitchell) and Sarah (Mo Collins) are tearfully forced apart. Charlie (Alexa Nisenson) begs to stay with Daniel, who swears to her, "I will find a way to get to you. I will, will find you." Dwight (Austin Amelio) is sent off alongside a half-dozen other survivors while Althea (Maggie Grace) is taken away alone.
Kept together are Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Wes (Colby Hollman) and Strand, who tells Alicia, "We'll be fine. We can do more damage from the inside." The Pioneers then separate newlyweds John and June and then Morgan and Grace (Karen David), who have just admitted their shared romantic feelings.
Morgan watches the convoy depart and is left alone with Virginia, who then shoots him and leaves him for dead as a pack of walkers close in. While Morgan's apparent death happens offscreen by way of a cut to black, the finale seemingly sets up a Season 6 that does away with its ensemble in favor of episodes centered around one or just a handful of the separated characters at a time.
The group was previously separated in the back half of Fear's fourth season, where they were slowly reassembled over the course of that half-season.
Then-showrunner Scott Gimple — now an executive producer on Fear — took a similar approach to the storytelling of The Walking Dead's fourth season, which separated Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) band of survivors when their prison base was assaulted by the Governor (David Morrissey). Those survivors then spent an entire half-season apart and only reunited in the closing minutes of the Season 4 finale.1comments
"The way that we leave everyone will start to set up what Season 6 is going to look like and you'll see that it's very different than a how Season 5 played out," Goldberg told EW. Added Chambliss, the move to separate the survivors is "reinventing the show."
"We're always looking for ways from season to season or every half season to change up the narrative," Chambliss said. "And what we're doing here is really trying to fundamentally change these characters and allow us to explore new sides of them we haven't seen before."